Thursday, January 23, 2020
If you want to shop around for studies on conspiracy theories it's virtually guaranteed that you'll find some that suits you beliefs, and others that don't; however, if you want to figure out which ones are credible you have to check them carefully, perhaps especially if your inclined to agree with their conclusions before reading the study or article about the study.
There have been false stereotypes about conspiracy theories for decades, often repeated by mainstream media, the academic world, many so called scientific skeptics and even in the dictionary definitions of them. These stereotypes routinely ignore many relatively simple conspiracies that routinely turn out to be at least partially true, many exposed by reporters, prosecutors, historians, environmentalists, antiwar protesters, consumer advocates, and more.
There's a common saying in the computer industry, garbage in garbage out, (GIGO) which means that if you don't start with accurate data then you wont get accurate results. This should mean that you have to start by getting the fundamentals right, including the definition of a conspiracy, or conspiracy theory. A conspiracy is when two or more people act or communicate to impact other people's lives in secret. A conspiracy theory is when someone suspected this is happening and they try to speculate about what's going on.
A good conspiracy theorist wouldn't jump to conclusions without some degree of evidence and would follow a rational thought practice. He would have to be a rational skeptic with a reasonably open mind unlike some well know so-called skeptics that accept everything the establishment tells them with little scrutiny. Of course there's little or no doubt that there are plenty of incredibly bad conspiracy theorists responding to appeals to emotion and accepting many far-fetched conspiracy theories, like a claim that we have a hollow Earth and some version of this say that Hitler's still alive and flying a UFO inside it. These irrational conspiracy theories are routinely used to smear much more rational ones; however, only when they challenge the dominant beliefs by the political and media establishment.
If you consider the literal definition of a conspiracy theory then these should be no doubt that this should include reporters that expose corporate wrong doing and release secret documents to prove their claims, prosecutors that make a case against criminals who conduct illegal activities like conspiracy to commit murder or sell drugs, historians that debunk some irrational conspiracy theories and report on other secret actives the public didn't know about at the time. But of course none of these people are referred to as conspiracy theorists, even though that's what they do when the need arises.
Furthermore, if you Google "Conspiracy theories that turned out to be true," you'll find plenty of examples of conspiracy theories that really did turn out to be true, although I would advise checking them out independently to be sure. I found several lists, including a few below, that are mostly conspiracies that I checked into with some that I'm not familiar with and a couple that I suspect might not be quite as true as they claim.
This doesn't mean that there aren't some people that fit the stereotype of conspiracy theorists, there are, and that is what makes these stereotypes seem more convincing; however most of these studies act as if most if not all conspiracy theories should be dismissed, or the people reporting on them second had argue this, often going beyond what some of the studies claim. These studies don't seem to go through the process of trying to figure out which conspiracy theories are true or advise readers to do so, when they do recommend critical thinking skills they often imply that the result will be dismissal conspiracy theories as completely false, even when some might be partly or completely true.
Another false stereotype often claims that conspiracy theorists believe this or that, which might be true for some people but a good conspiracy theorist will be careful to keep in mind that until you have conclusive prof that a theory is either true or false it would be inappropriate to rule things in or out. Another stereotype is that conspiracy theorists often believe different theories that blatantly contradict each other, once again some people might do this as well, but a good conspiracy theorists won't jump to conclusions and might consider contradictory theories keeping in mind that it's an either or situation until there's conclusive evidence.
Furthermore, if these studies are subject to good peer review they should have figured this out, which might indicate either a strong cultural bias with closed minds, or possibly even a conspiracy to provide propaganda to cover up something big. However, for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume most researchers that act reasonably are sincere in their beliefs unless I see evidence to the contrary. If they make incredibly incompetent blunders that they should have caught then it shows either closed minded researchers, or perhaps, in some cases there is a possibility they might be covering this up, but even then that's still theory.
Regardless of why some of these academic studies or the researchers miss some basic fundamentals there are some blatantly biased articles like this one, which, once again, might apply to some conspiracy theorists, but not all:
The claim that these beliefs are about rejecting the official narrative not about putting forward other explanations is clearly wrong, for many people, and this is just one smear after another, although if they search for people that have these characteristics they can stereotype anyone that disagrees with establishment views.
This study about those believing in a conspiracy after being told it was invented for the sake of research raises some questions, unfortunately it's behind a pay wall. Fortunately I was able to find another copy searching the internet, as well as the second one saying they believe conspiracies that directly contradict one another. articles like this rarely talk about the methods which are reported in the study. Both these studies were done by asking people to fill out questionnaires, in some cases there's little or no discussion of follow up questions. The third part of the first study, which involved an alleged conspiracy that they made up for the sake of the study was the only one that discussed follow up questions to make sure that they still believe them after being told it was false. Initially they informed them that "The information given in the article is not true," without fully explaining that it was made up for the sake of the study; then they followed up a second time to explain that it was totally manufactured. this method could have led them to stick by their beliefs and dig in their heals, although that's only speculation and further follow up would be helpful.
In the second study it says, "Conspiracy theories are not by definition false; indeed, many real conspiracies have come to light over the years," which Steven Caldwell Brown Ph.D. didn't mention in his article, and most people that didn't pay for it or search for alternative ways to get it wouldn't have any way of knowing this. However this study does focus on a couple irrational ones, reinforcing common stereotypes, even though they acknowledge some conspiracies are true. Both studies recruited people for the study that were willing participants & presumably interested in conspiracies. The first one only offered them a modest amount of change, under one dollar, to participate, the second one was from psychology students that volunteered. This isn't uncommon, but it's not necessarily representative of the majority of the public and this isn't reported in the article.
Another problem with this second study is that they asked people what conspiracies they believed in a questionnaire, but didn't spell out how it was phrased completely clear they say that they were asked to say whether they strongly agreed or disagreed with a statement with seven options so they could chose something in between. They acknowledge that "One possible alternative explanation for these results is acquiescence bias: participants may have simply replied in the same way to every question, resulting in positive correlations across the scale regardless of the questions’ content. However, the scale included a reverse-coded Diana conspiracy item which read, 'The death of Princess Diana was an accident.'” However by declining to even say that whether they followed up and asked whether that was the case or not implies that they didn't. Another possible explanation is that some of the people responding to the questionnaires might have considered them viable theories without being totally committed to them. As far as I know they didn't ask that either. I know other articles about conspiracy theorists have admitted that many of them couldn't be completely sure.
These studies routinely have lots of problems which many good academics are fully aware of but when they're reported to the public they rarely mention this or inform us where we could find diverse criticism. They're posted in academic journals so they can be subject to peer review, but your not familiar with where to look for opposing views you won't hear about it unless someone who is manages to get their point across & this is often at a very low profile manner since the media does a terrible job reporting on this or anything else.
To determine the quality of these studies it helps to read more of them, as well as other social psychology research, which most people don't do. the above article citing numerous studies to push conspiracy theory stereotypes is seriously flawed, which can be recognized by checking facts from diverse sources, not just relying on authoritarian sources. This next one isn't quite as bad, however it still operates on the implied assumption that mainstream media is always right or at least close, and that alternative media outlets are less reliable, and even when it probably gets some things right it is at best incomplete, and they probably should have know it because they express no understanding of why religious people might be more likely to believe irrational conspiracy theories, assuming their conclusions are right:
The sources they cited as fake were supposedly debunked by either Snopes or similar skeptical web pages or analyzed in the 2016 election and proven to be false. This may be more reliable than some of the worst alternative media outlets like Alex Jones or Breitbart, however sometimes even they get things right that the mainstream media gets wrong, although they're far from what I would consider a reliable source.
This study seems to imply that they accept the mainstream narrative that it was Russia that was responsible for corrupting the election; however one clear problem with that is that mainstream media does far more to rig elections by only covering a small fraction of the candidates running for any given office. this conclusion isn't just a conspiracy it's confirmed by the public record, checking to see who's running and noticing that many of them never get any media coverage and mainstream media routinely act as if only those collecting donations from corporations or that are so popular they can't ignore are viable. This only turns out to be true because many honest candidates never get any name recognition & some of the most important news is only reported in alternative media outlets or good non-fiction books.
This raises major doubts about their judgement when deciding what's fake news and what's not. Not that I'm assuming that a large number of stories they used are likely to be true; my best guess is that they chose obviously flawed fake news that some propagandists have been pushing relentlessly, however I don't know what articles they showed this study group.
Another perhaps bigger problem is that they seem to have no explanation for why religious extremists are more likely to accept fake news, assuming that they got most of their stories close to the truth for the study. At least this article provides a link to the study they're citing which isn't behind a paywall.
This study says, "One such limitation is that cross-sectional mediation analyses, like the ones conducted in the present studies, are biased estimators of causal processes that likely unfold over time (Maxwell & Cole, 2007). This limitation qualifies the present studies’ support for the hypothesis that reduced engagement in analytic and actively open-minded thinking might explain the relationship between belief in fake news and delusion-like ideation. Future research could address this limitation by examining whether reduced engagement in analytic reasoning predicts both belief in fake news and the endorsement of delusion-like ideation in a longitudinal dataset or by experimentally manipulating engagement in analytic reasoning."
I didn't read Maxwell & Cole, 2007: Bias in cross-sectional analyses of longitudinal mediation, which is the source they cite, and it's behind another paywall so the public doesn't have access to it without paying, and once you look at some of these studies most of them are clearly not worth paying what they charge. However, I have read other good research including some that was available over twenty-five years before the 2018 article and study, that could help explain why some people ware willing to trust demagogues.
It's a reasonably safe bet that the reason some people do such a bad job sorting through blatantly bad unscientific conspiracy theories or irrational religious beliefs, which have a lot in common with each other, is based on their early child rearing tactics from their parents and other care givers. Basically when children are young they develop behavior patterns that last a lifetime unless something changes them. This includes blindly trusting leaders or developing critical thinking skills to recognize lies or logical flaws, as well as emotional out bursts and even violence.
One of the most important contributing factors is often child abuse including use of corporal punishment, and emotional outburst when children don't obey parents or accept their beliefs without question, especially among many religious fundamentalists. These child rearing tactics are designed to teach blind obedience and lead to children that are more likely to go along with the crowd. Children that aren't raised in an authoritarian manner are more likely to develop critical thinking skills, do their own fact checking, and perhaps read more good non-fiction books that enable them to keep up with educational material or alternative news that mainstream media declines to cover.
The author of this study calls for future research to understand causes of this, which is always a good idea, but they also need to take advantage of research that already exists and good reporting the mainstream media ignore, you know, the research they seem to be stereotyping as fringe conspiracy theories like the irrational ones. I went into child rearing tactics and how they could be used either to develop critical thinking skills or to indoctrinate kids to follow leaders blindly more in Fundamentals of Psychology and Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine.
The sources that I used to come to my conclusions involve numerous good non-fiction authors and researchers that go back decades; a couple of the best ones that might help explain how abused kids are more likely to become irrational conspiracy theorists rather than rational ones that check their facts include Alice Miller author of "For Your Own Good" and Philip Greven author of "Spare the Child." Philip Greven explains that authoritarianism developed with the help of corporal punishment shows a "political obsession with order, control, and obedience- is rooted in violence and coercion." These are tactics of cult leaders and despite some of the studies that claim that some conspiracy theorists want to be unique many of them want to fit in with their own crowd which is often taught not to trust outsiders including them mainstream media, and often more rational people as well. this description may fit a large segment of Trump supporters.
One of the potential studies they might want to consider is asking people that believe in conspiracy theories how much non-fiction books they read, and what quality they are and comparing them to the quality or rationality of the conspiracy theories. This would require a lot of research that needs to be done in good faith, and no doubt that there will be a lot of people that disagree with conclusions of such a study no matter what the results but it could help understand more, assuming it's done well.
One thing to consider is that if I can find this academics work and recognize that early child hood child rearing tactics and education has a major impact on whether or not people can sort through rational and irrational conspiracy theories or not, why can't the academic world? Could it be ideological or cultural biases, or even a conspiracy to provide propaganda cover for other conspiracies? Without further evidence I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, but without evidence to rule it out I wouldn't do that either, especially since these would explain their reluctance to seek out the best research available to them and acknowledge that some of these conspiracy theories are rational and they should beware of additional ones.
There are many more good researchers into more rational conspiracy theories that often turn out to be true, perhaps one of the most famous ones is Noam Chomsky, although on at least one occasion when he was accused of being a conspiracy theorist he denied it, saying that his conclusions were rational based in information that's public knowledge, and a close look at some of his best books shows that he provides the source notes to back this up. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt authors of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" also made a similar argument; however all three of them and many more good researchers expose activities that were once kept secret, meaning they were conspiracies when the activities took place; further more they also cite evidence that the establishment continues to conduct their activities in secret and that develops a pattern of behavior. the mainstream media rarely ever covers researchers like this but those familiar with alternative media or good library books that aren't promoted by the media might know there are many more including the following couple of articles examining misunderstanding of conspiracy theories, the second which claims that the stereotypes were intentionally created by the CIA:
David Coady is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Tasmania, so I assume he considers himself one of the few exceptions from the academics world. He does make some very good points but he may be subtly going to the other extreme, by not considering that even though many conspiracy theorists are much more rational than the stereotype implies, other fit the stereotype, which is part of what makes the stereotype seem more credible.
There are also numerous claims that the CIA created or popularized the term conspiracy theory used in a selective manner, and perhaps some declassified documents to support this as indicated in the following article:
I'm not inclined to say whether or not either the Moon Landing or 9/11 was faked as a result of a conspiracy; there are major questions about both but if either were true then it would have to be a massive one, and further evidence would be required to support the theory and explain the details. However he does make a very good point about a small segment of society controlling the mass media.
One of the most fundamental principles of propaganda or indoctrination is that "a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth," or at least it seems to, especially if there are no opposing views to challenge it. this is why we need diverse media, yet over 95% of mass media is controlled by six corporations owned by less than a fraction of 1% of the public made up mostly of multimillionaires and billionaires.
This is exactly what the first amendment should have prevented!
One of the stereotypes that some of these researches are promoting are that that conspiracy theorists all believe in a massive cabal to control them and conspire against the majority. by implying that most conspiracy theories are wrong they're trying to imply that this isn't true yet wealthy people control all large institutions including the news we hear and which candidates get name recognition enabling them to be elected and the economy which has a massive amount of income inequality and the entire establishment is, if anything trying to make it worse. A lot of these conclusions aren't based on a conspiracy theory at all, since the evidence to support it isn't secret!
However, there are plenty of things that are done in secret clearly indicating that some of it does involve conspiracy and if I speculated about what it was that would fit the definition of a conspiracy.
Ron Unz goes on to describe numerous declassified documents and forgotten history that's only recorded in low profile locations so his claims are quite rational, if not mostly or completely conclusive, which they might be. Anyone familiar with the history of the CIA may know that they often deal with the media, military and college professors or other academics. If this is true, then there's a strong possibility that many of the so-called Skeptics that have been debunking conspiracy theories have been working for the CIA as well, and this could also include some of the people conducting these social psychology studies.
One of the most well known of these skeptics is Michael Shermer, who claims to be a rational or scientific skeptic, and many media pundits and other academic researchers, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, seem to endorse this claim; however, even though some of his work may be scientific, or at least seem that way he routinely ignores inconvenient facts when they don't support his ideology and often makes blunders as absurd as the fringe believers he debates.
In Are Michael Shermer and Philip Zimbardo trying to be secular cult leaders? I cited Michael Shermer's debate with Jesse Ventura where he describes his book 63 documents, and in his article, Jesse “The Body” Ventura versus Michael “The Mind” Shermer he writes, "Presented in breathtaking revelatory tones that within lies the equivalent of the Pentagon Papers, what the reader actually finds between the covers are documents obtained through standard Freedom of Information Act requests that can also be easily downloaded from the Internet."
At the time I wrote my previous article I hadn't read this book and only covered it briefly, I've read it since, and my conclusions at that time were correct, they were documents that were declassified and available on the internet as Michael Shermer says, but they got little or no media coverage so the vast majority of the public wasn't aware of them, until they were promoted as part of the marketing of Jesse Ventura's book. Just because they were reported publicly doesn't mean that weren't about conspiracies, which they admit they were, and they were kept secret at the time they were carrying out the activities often at the expense of a large segment of the public.
This clearly establishes a pattern of behavior, and even though many of Jesse Ventura's other alleged conspiracy theories may be seriously flawed it does make it clear that government routinely lies to the people, even Michael Shermer partly admits it before trying to downplay it when he writes, "but just because politicians and their appointed cabinet assigns and their staffers sometimes lie (mostly in the interest of national security but occasionally to cover up their own incompetence and moral misdeeds), doesn’t mean that every pronouncement made in the name of a government action is a lie."
This is just the beginning of his spin, there's no doubt that governments get caught lying all the time and that an enormous amount of it is for incredibly corrupt reasons. Contrary to his claim that lies are "mostly in the interest of national security," many of them do the exact opposite, including the invasion of Iraq, which had already incited numerous retaliatory activities by the time he wrote this article in 2011, and he should have known it. Many good authors including Noam Chomsky do a much better job researching foreign policy than either Jesse Ventura or Michael Shermer and some of the best are also ridiculed as conspiracy theorists. Michael Shermer also cites some claims he attributes to Ventura which seem exaggerated, which is a common tactic, so he can claim or imply that it should be dismissed in it's entirety. For example I doubt if Jesse Ventura said that all things the government said were lies as Shermer implied in his statement above.
I also wrote several more articles about both Michael Shermer and Phillip Zimbardo including Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment which was funded by the Office of Naval Research even though Zimbardo claimed he was a Vietnam protester. Some of his work researches indoctrination methods including efforts to control and manipulate both the guards and prisoners in this experiment. This experiment was part of many other experiments including the Obedience to Authority experiments by Satanly Milgram which the Office of Naval Research also supported indirectly.
These articles explain that this research could be used either to warn people how to recognize indoctrination tactics or to use the results to learn how to make the indoctrination tactics or Propaganda more effective. Regrettably it appears as if the military was far more concerned with indoctrinating their own troops to blindly obey orders in wars based on lies, while only a much smaller number of people, mainly in the academic world, learned how to avoid being subject to propaganda and manipulation.
The same could easily go for all these studies into conspiracy theories that could help whether to teach people to sort through them rationally or they can be used to develop more effective indoctrination methods to manipulate the masses. I don't know enough about most of the researchers conducting these studies but doubt if the evidence is as strong to indicate that they're intentionally trying to learn how to indoctrinate people, as it is with Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo; however that doesn't necessarily mean that others can't use the research to learn how to manipulate the masses.
This seems like far-fetched conspiracy but of course it's standard operating procedure in politics and occasionally they even admit it although they typically spin it to make it seem justified one example where this is most blatant is "Words That Work" by Frank Luntz who virtually confesses to sabotaging democratic process for clients. I went into additional details about how the political establishment routinely manipulates crowds and rigs elections in Psst, Elections Were Rigged By Oligarchy not Russia & Evidence Was Reported Before It Happened! Some of this is speculation of course but a lot of it is rational conclusions based on public information that can be verified independently.
One thing to consider is that if they really were interested in teaching people not to fall for irrational conspiracy theories, as the government and media seem to claim or imply, wouldn't they pursue a course of action to accomplish that goal? One effective solution to this problem would involve improving childhood education and teaching at risk parents better parenting skills so they can help children develop better critical thinking skills.
Of course another obvious way is to atop shrouding all their activities in secret and getting caught in real conspiracies; stop rigging the economy in favor of the wealthy few; stop fighting wars based on lies; and stop participating in many other scams.
Yet neither the government, the media or the academic world is doing any of these things, although there are some people encouraging it at the grassroots level! this isn't good enough to prove that these studies are conclusively being used to learn how to indoctrinate people, however I can't completely rule it out either and even if it's not true then declining to improve education or implement accountability for those in power is having the same results.
In many cases we do have enough evidence to determine that the official explanation for events doesn't always add up and indicates that there are some secret activities going on so it's not unreasonable for ordinary people to speculate about conspiracy theories!
In all fairness when it comes to claims about UFOs, things that seem like paranormal or supernatural, then the common claim "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," is justified; however in some cases there may be some extraordinary evidence, at least enough to raise doubts about the official explanation. One of the clearest examples of this is massive megaliths that were moved thousands of years ago, many over a hundred tons or even seven hundred tons despite the fact that experiments to replicate this effort with primitive technology have failed miserably and shows that it should have been impossible, yet it was done.
Many theorists including those on Ancient Aliens on the History Channel have cited this as evidence for their theories that aliens have been influencing our society for thousands of years; although, an enormous amount of the claims they make on this show are seriously flawed and any rational person should be able to recognize it. This should raise doubts about why the mainstream media is presenting such incompetent research as educational. skeptics should be outraged, but they're no more scientific that the people on this show and are often denying that large institutions like the six corporations controlling almost all media are involved in a conspiracy.
Another major mystery might be how our technology has developed so fast over the past few decades, or going back to World War Two. One of the sources the Ancient aliens provides to explain this is Philip Corso author of "The Day After Roswell" who claims that he shared technology retrieved from captured crafts from aliens with large corporations. If true then this would begin to explain how technological advances sped up so much and with additional information it could explain how the megaliths were moved and much more.
But once again, without additional evidence this is still theory and we would have to consider other possibilities as well. However, we do have enough information to narrow it down to two possibilities, generally speaking; either there is something to the ancient aliens theory, with many details that need to be worked out; or there's a massive effort to make it seem as if there is when there isn't. If the latter is true then it would mean that the media is helping with this effort to mislead the public; if the former is true the media is still responsible for incredibly incompetent coverage of the subject letting obvious blunders go without correction.
Media often claim that they're not responsible for the beliefs reported by some of their shows but they routinely decline to cover some of the best scientific research, including how to catch these blunders, how to teach people to avoid violence by educating children better, and many other things.
Sometimes it really is a conspiracy; we just need more information to figure out which version is true!
The following are some additional sources or studies:
Is Stanton Friedman working for the CIA to refute reverse engineering claims?
Corruption or Bias in the American Psychological Association
Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize
Definition of conspiracy theory: a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators
The Ancient Astronaut Theory – A Case Study 04/21/2019
“What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of conspiracy theories 06/08/2013 Conspiracy theories, defined as allegations that powerful people or organizations are plotting together in secret to achieve sinister ends through deception of the public (Abalakina-Paap et al., 1999; Wood et al., 2012), have long been an important element of popular discourse.
conspiracy theory: 1. a theory that rejects the standard explanation for an event and instead credits a covert group or organization with carrying out a secret plot: One popular conspiracy theory accuses environmentalists of sabotage in last year's mine collapse. 2. a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a covert group: A number of conspiracy theories have already emerged, purporting to explain last week's disappearance of a commercial flight over international waters. 3. the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of deceptive plots that are largely unknown to the general public: The more I learn about the activities of intelligence agencies, the less far-fetched I find many geopolitical conspiracy theories.
Wikipedia: Conspiracy theory A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. The term has a pejorative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence. Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, whereby the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than something that can be proved or disproved.
Cable Sought to Discredit Critics of Warren Report 12/26/1977
The Investigation Of The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy: Performance Of The Intelligence Agencies 04/23/1976
CIA Document 1035-960 Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report 1967
Flawed study on conspiracy theories comes up with semi-accurate conclusions
We Must Become The Media And The Scientists!
Are Michael Shermer and Philip Zimbardo trying to be secular cult leaders?
Shermer's The Mind of The Market 02/17/2008
Either Pseudo-skeptics can't handle the truth or they just might be involved in a cover-up.
25 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out to Be True 12/20/2018
15 Conspiracies That Turned Out To Be True 01/0/2020
Conspiracies That Turned Out To Be True
Too special to be duped: Need for uniqueness motivates conspiracy beliefs October 2016
Brexit and Trump voters are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories 12/14/2018
Why some people are more likely to believe wild conspiracy theories than others 09/27/2017
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
If you didn't notice that we keep choosing between one incredibly corrupt clown after another and getting politicians from both parties that routinely sell us out. The 2016 election had the two most unpopular nominees in history, otherwise there's no way Donald Trump could have ever been elected. Wikileaks exposed the Clinton strategy of supporting "pied piper" candidates they thought would be easy to beat, and the fact that the mainstream media was working closely with their campaign to give them enormous advantages.
There's no way Donald Trump could have been elected if he weren't running against an incredibly corrupt candidate that Republicans hated and Democrats were at best luke warm about.
Before that Scott Walker outraged an enormous number of people attacking the education system, unions and more, enabling them to rally for a recall election which he should have lost; however most people don't remember the reason that he won it was because the Democrats rallied behind the same unpopular nominee, Tom Barrett, that lost to him in 2010 enabling him to win again and in 2014 they put up a business executive that he was able to beat before finally losing in 2018.
In Maine they put up with an even more extreme governor, Paul LePage, who only won because he was in two three way races. After years of outrage at his bizarre behavior they became the first state in the nation to mandate Ranked Choice voting statewide to ensure that this doesn't happen again!
There have been plenty of local governments across the country that have used it for years on a small scale. Last year Jasiel Correia was being investigated for corruption in Fall River Massachusetts and faced a recall, which he should have lost, with more than 60% of voters voting to remove him; however, the way it was set up was that the person with the most votes would replace him and he was the only one that got more than a third of the vote. There's little or no doubt that if they had ranked choice voting that there's no way he could have gotten over 50% of the vote, once they eliminated the lowest candidates and counted their second or third choices.
This increased the support for Ranked Choice Voting enabling it to get on the Ballot for 2020, possibly making it the second state to use it nation wide.
We're often told that anyone can run for office, and that this ensures that the will of the people is supposed to be done; which, of course, sounds great, and it would be great if it worked that way.
But of course it doesn't even come close to working that way.
Billionaires control which candidates we get to hear from for the most part with rare exceptions where there's an enormous amount of grassroots support for someone like Bernie Sanders for president, although there may be more examples at the local level when some people can get enough attention from the grassroots, but this is much tougher in large states. Ranked Choice Voting, of course, isn't the only partial solution that we need to implement; we also have to have much more diverse media coverage and enable the grassroots to control the interview process among other things. But it is an important step and it can help lead to other parts of the solution.
This is why the media practically never mentions it at all especially at the national level. It has gotten a significant amount of attention at the local level in some areas where there's a lots of grassroots support, and editorialists often try to smear it, in a variety of ways; which shouldn't be too surprising since these are the same media pundits involved in providing propaganda for corporate candidates that dominate almost all elections.
Right off the bat the establishment will be put on notice not to rig nominations for two incredibly bad candidates in the general election like they did at the presidential level in 2016. This will also enable local grassroots candidates to provide a strong showing attracting more attention or better yet win, assuming they can get enough media attention which is more likely in small districts or states.
One of the few relatively high profile pundits that actually challenges the establishment is professor Lawrence Lessig who defends Ranked Choice Voting in the following article:
Ranked Choice Voting already had an impact on the 2018 election in Maine enabling a Democrat to win over fifty percent of the vote even though the Republican won the first round with less than forty-four percent of the vote; and there's potential for it to impact the 2020 Senate race even more. This could also lead to greater voter turn out, since the supporters of candidates that might previously have been considered spoilers might have been less inclined to turn out, and perhaps already did.
It hasn't elected an independent or third party candidate yet; but it almost certainly enabled Tiffany Bond to get more votes than she previously would have as described in the following article:
Tiffany Bond is running for Senate this year along with at least two other third party or independent candidates that could all benefit from Ranked Choice Voting. One of them is Danielle Ravyn VanHelsing who I never heard of and couldn't find much information on, except for her Facebook page. The other one is Lisa Savage, who's a teacher and has been an antiwar and environmental activist for years, if not decades. There's also a lesser known progressive running in the Democratic Party, Betsy Sweet, who supports medicare for all and the Green New Deal.
Betsy Sweet is one of five candidates officially running for the Democratic nomination at this time; as far as I can tell two of the other four are probably less known than she is, and the media isn't giving them much attention. The other two are the Speaker of the Maine House, Sara Gideon, who's apparently involved in campaign finance scandals, and Ross LaJeunesse, a corporate executive with close ties to the Democratic Party, including some that have major credibility problems. Both these candidates are clearly traditional politicians that are not inclined to bring much if any change, although the media is giving them much more coverage which might have virtually guarantee that one of them would get the nomination if not for Ranked Choice Voting.
The one I've been following the most is Lisa Savage, since I was familiar with some of her on line activism several years before she decided to run for Senate. She's the type of candidate that the political establishment try to tell us has a chance, yet the deck is stacked against her in favor of candidates like Sara Gideon, and Ross LaJeunesse. Lisa Savage has made her positions on many issues clear over the years, and isn't a career politician catering to corporate interests. I know most of the fake progressives say that to but I suspect she's one of the rare exceptions.
Both Betsy sweet and Lisa Savage support Medicare for All and a Green new deal, among other progressive issues. Tiffany Bond may be better than the establishment candidates but according to her issues page she wants to improve the ACA instead of supporting Medicare for All saying "the issue with that model is it still fundamentally functions like insurance. Insurance might not be the best model for us, so let’s explore possibilities to get our system built right." The obvious problem with this statement is clearly that the ACA is also still insurance, controlled by private for profit organizations.
My own personal preference in the Democratic primary would almost certainly be Betsy Sweet, but even if she does manage to win it thanks to Ranked Choice Voting in the General Election I would probably pick Lisa Savage as my first choice. Both of them are far better than traditional candidates, and with the advantage of Ranked Choice Voting they may have the best chance of winning, for a good grassroots candidate, in years of not decades. Tiffany Bond or the lesser known candidates, either in the Democratic Primary or General election would still be much better than traditional establishment candidates.
As much as I hope that this could be enough to make the difference, it may also need a lot of grassroots organizing to overcome the inevitable media bias for them to actually win. But even if they don't win if they get a much better showing than previous years for independents or progressives then they could help draw much more attention for themselves if they choose to run again or other future candidates, some of which might overcome the establishment rigging of elections, assuming enough people wake up.
There are still other issues that have to be taken care of, the two most important ones might be media reform and election integrity. There have been plenty of media pundits that have been trying to tell us that this will confuse the issue and that it gives people multiple votes, or other distortions of the truth. Most if not all these claims are seriously flawed; the claim that people are voting twice ignores the fundamentals of Ranked Choice Voting, the second choice isn't considered unless the first is eliminated and only one counts, ensuring that the winning candidate gets over 50%.
Another potential problem is that we have to make sure that the people in charge of voting integrity actually want to preserve it. Establishment politicians have been using a similar tactic to push privatization for decades. they say government is incapable of doing anything right then when they get elected they make it incapable of doing things right, sometimes playing tag team with multiple candidates from both parties corrupting the way government works. But then when they hand government function over to for-profit private corporations it gets much worse.
We have to elect people who actually want government to work for the people, not for corporations and we have to put people in charge of Ranked Choice Voting that want it to work to. And, if something does go wrong, we have to consider the possibility that establishment figures that never wanted it to work in the first place might have some responsibility for it. this has worked at the local level in cities across the country for decades, we can make it work in statewide, and eventually national elections once we get it going!
If the grassroots wakes up a growing number of people, we can make this work and Ranked Choice Voting, along with diverse media coverage from alternative sources, could be an important part of progressive reform that we've needed for decades!
The following are some additional sources for this article about Ranked Choice Voting and some of the candidates running for Senate in Maine under the first election using RCV:
Why Maine’s Ranked-Choice Voting Could Go National 12/04/2019
A former Google executive moved back to Maine and entered the 2020 Senate race. Can he win? 11/12/2019
Maine Democrats running for US Senate united by motivations 12/08/2019 Maine's 2020 Senate race is shaping up to be a fiercely contested election fueled by unprecedented amounts of mostly out-of-state money if Collins, who has yet to formally declare her candidacy, decides to seek a fifth term. Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., and party donors in Maine and nationwide are already throwing their support and more than $4 million into the primary campaign of Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport. Yet the outcome of the June 9 congressional primary is far from guaranteed six months out. Gideon faces at least three competitors for the Democratic nomination: attorney Bre Kidman of Saco, former tech executive and political newcomer Ross LaJeunesse of Biddeford and longtime progressive advocate Betsy Sweet of Hallowell.
Lisa for Maine
U.S. Senate Candidate Lisa Savage Condemns Airstrike In Iraq, Calls For Restoration of Congressional Authority Over Military 01/06/2020
Stop U.S. & Israeli war on Iran! 01/03/2020 US Senate Candidate Lisa Savage Condemns Airstrike Against Iran, Calls For Restoration of Congressional Authority Over US Military
Not just cheap talk but the real deal for once 01/10/2020 I’m Lisa Savage, and I’m running for the US Senate seat currently held by Susan Collins. I’m a teacher, an organizer, and a grandmother, and I want to give Mainers a Senator who works for the people, not the powerful.
Working the doors across Maine for Lisa 01/13/2020
Danielle Ravyn VanHelsing Maine independent candidate for Senate on Facebook
Tiffany Bond, candidate for Maine Senate issues page
Betsy Sweet Democratic candidate for Senate
Dem Opponents Seize on Sara Gideon’s Campaign Finance Violations 08/03/2019
Worried about social media and elections? What about our public media? 11/25/2019
Why Gavin Newsom was wrong in vetoing ranked-choice voting – and how to fix it. Part 1 01/08/2020
Why Gavin Newsom was wrong in vetoing ranked-choice voting – and how to fix it. Part 2 01/09/2020
Utah Tests Ranked-Choice Voting’s Conservative Appeal 12/13/2019 With its pilot program running through 2026, Utah joins 15 cities and the state of Maine in implementing ranked-choice voting. Most of those jurisdictions, such as Berkeley, California, and Takoma Park, Maryland, are politically progressive. In November, voters in New York City approved a ballot measure allowing the voting system in primaries and special elections of certain municipal elections starting in 2021.
Ranked choice voting? Why progressives want it here 12/19/2019
A look ahead at ranked-choice voting in 2020 01/08/2020
Ranked choice voting could be dream come true 12/23/2019 A bill has been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly that has the potential to make these fantasy scenarios reality. SB 2267 introduces ranked choice voting for state offices, and has the potential to upend the dysfunctional state political process we've become accustomed to.
Where Ranked choice voting is used Ranked choice voting (RCV) is a proven voting method that has been used for major elections in the U.S. and other countries for over a century. Multi-winner RCV was invented in the 1850s, as a proportional representation system to be used in multi-winner elections. In the 1870s, it was adapted to the single-winner form. It is sometimes referred to as “instant runoff voting," “preferential voting,” "proportional representation," "single transferable vote" and a number of other names.
Ranked-Choice Voting Could 'Change The Rules' Of Electoral Politics In Mass. 01/07/2020 Last winter, more than 60% of the voters in Fall River opted to remove Mayor Jasiel Correia from office. Then, something remarkable happened. On the same recall ballot, Correia was allowed to run for reelection against the four other candidates listed. He clung to power with just over a third of the vote. It was a classic example of a what political scientists call a "spoiler election." Joe Pereira, an activist in Fall River who helped organize the recall against Correia, is now calling for a new electoral system he said would stop deeply unpopular leaders from winning in spoiler elections.
Gov. Mills allows ranked-choice voting in Maine’s presidential elections 09/06/2019 AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills decided Friday to let a ranked-choice voting bill become law without her signature, meaning Maine will become the first state in the nation to use the balloting system in presidential elections.
Governor Mills Statement on Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential Primary and General Elections in Maine 09/06/2019
Massachusetts voters may consider ranked-choice voting on 2020 ballot 12/25/2019 Four questions on their way to next year’s ballot are first heading to state lawmakers to give them a chance to act on them before voters weigh in. Supporters of the four proposed laws have already submitted the signatures of more than 80,239 registered voters required by the Massachusetts Constitution to secure a spot on the 2020 ballot. The measures would create a “ranked-choice” voting system in Massachusetts, increase funding for the state’s struggling nursing homes, update the right-to-repair law covering car repairs, and allow food stores to sell beer and wine.
Ranked-choice voting threatens to distort election outcomes 12/12/2019 This is one of many attempts to smear Ranked Choice Voting that doesn't check into how it's worked in some cities or offer an alternative solution to the rigged system that serves corporations rigging economy for the wealthy.
Opinion | It’s time for Michigan to join Maine with ranked-choice voting 01/10/2020
Can Ranked-Choice Voting Save American Democracy? 01/10/2020 By Isaac Chotiner
The somewhat absurd controversy over Maine’s ranked-choice voting system, explained 12/09/2018
Thursday, January 9, 2020
It didn't take the media more than a week or two to move on to the next obsession du jour after there were two mass shootings in two days, without mentioning any of the other mass shootings by veterans on military bases or the hundreds if not thousands more murders by veterans.
At the same time they're constantly promoting propaganda glorifying veterans giving them a false image, especially around the holidays when they play routine surprise homecomings on national and local news shows.
Not that I'm trying to imply that all veterans are mass shooters; this certainly isn't close to the truth. The vast majority of veterans aren't mass killers, and many of them are the first to recognize this problem and try to solve it, in addition to the veterans that have learned that their government has betrayed them and have joined organizations against wars based on lies.
It would be highly inappropriate to stereotype veterans by saying or implying that they're all alike; yet that's exactly what routine propaganda about them all being heroes when they join the military to "fight for our freedom." But then as soon as they question authority, raising doubts about fighting wars based on lies, they're often demonized as being unpatriotic. Or even worse when some of the most violence ones go on mass shooting sprees, which is far more common than most people realize; then they act as if each shooting is an isolated incident.
I went into this more about five years ago in Teach a soldier to kill and he just might where I cited a surprisingly long list of veterans going on shootings sprees or domestic violence, including murder. In many cases the most common victim of veteran shootings are other veterans and their own family members. These are often the first people to acknowledge the problem and try to solve it; but they get little or no help from the military, which is often more concerned with recruiting more veterans and even creating propaganda to glorify wars, often indirectly by creating a false image of veterans which ignores their real concerns.
These veteran shootings continue to happen on a semi-regular basis, although they're typically only reported as isolated incidents at the local level, with a few higher profile ones; I haven't compiled as long a list or as thorough a review since the one in 2014 but I have covered additional veteran shootings since then some which were listed in a Twitter string about Veterans Shootings these continue to day including a veteran that was arrested and charged for murdering a toddler on New Years Day, several higher profile ones including Mikhail Schmidt, Edward Gallagher & Roy H. Murry, and many more much lower profile ones that are only reported at the local level and they may not always report that those charged are veterans.
Roy H. Murry was an Iraq veteran and former Republican nominee for the State Senate convicted of killing three members of his wife's family and burning their house in an attempt to hide the evidence; Mikhail Schmidt was another Iraq veteran and triathlete who competed in the Iron Man Triathlon who allegedly "Craved the Taste of Blood" and "Missed Thrill of Killing" and claims that "a counter-terror group called 'Agent Orange' implanted nanobots in his brain and activated him to carry out the killing at an Oceanside construction site;" and Edward Gallagher has made more news nationally after Trump pardoned him despite the fact that he posed with the dead bodies of his victims in Iraq and one of his fellow Navy SEALs claimed he was "Freaking Evil."
The vast majority of veterans certainly aren't like this many are far more like those that try to stand up to them; however many others go along with them, including other veterans that posed with Gallagher and numerous other similar incidents that have been reported over the years.
Of course that's not the image the military is trying to present, and they go to the complete opposite extreme creating an image that doesn't stand up to basic scrutiny with propaganda glorifying veterans as if they're all heroes including hundreds of "surprise homecomings" that clearly take an enormous amount of planning, and are often broadcast on national or local TV and at sporting events.
I've been seeing "surprise homecomings" for years now almost every holiday, and often in between for birthdays graduations, and apparently a lot at sporting events. these are all caught on video and broadcast on TV, some of the ones at sporting events show them on a large screen to the audience as it happens. There were at least three of them, where the veteran literally jumps out of boxes disguised as birthday or Christmas presents. At first I thought this was a few isolated cases, but after seeing enough of them it became increasingly obvious that these are happening way to often and following a consistent pattern where veterans, and other institutions like sports stadiums, schools, Sea world, and any place else hosting these affairs clearly has to be involved in the planning for this.
I didn't need any hard evidence to see that this is clearly an organized plan, especially once I started checking to see how many of these events would turn up on Google and quickly found dozens of them, and no doubt could find hundreds if not thousands more if I spent enough time searching for "surprise homecomings" for holidays throughout the year, birthdays and a variety of different sporting events or states.
I don't know when they became so common but I suspect that they gradually increased after the Iraq War and after finding this article The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public 05/21/2012 I wouldn't be surprised if they increased even more after 2012. There's little or no hard evidence, that I know of showing this is intentional propaganda; however, it's incredibly hard to imagine how there could be so many of these surprise homecomings otherwise and checking for "surprise homecomings turns up at least a couple articles strongly confirming this including this one:
But apparently they're going even further with their propaganda and their choice of family members and retiring veterans clearly has obvious political implications in the following article about a veteran who served in South Korea, which hasn't been a combat zone in almost six decades, and the wife he was surprising also happens to be a cheer leader and a candidate for political office:
If this isn't considered hard evidence of obvious propaganda I can't imagine what is.
With so many of these surprise homecomings they have to be careful to select veterans that they think will reflect well on the military; they can't all be from privileged families that use their connections to help create propaganda. And they also have to be aware of all the mass shootings or studies showing that rates of domestic violence are higher in the military, as well as in the police force, than they are among the general public.
Hollywood certainly considered this when they created "Wag the Dog" over twenty years ago and Woody Harrelson played the person they chose to present as a "war hero" who they wanted to nickname "Old Shoe" so they picked Sgt. William Schumann. However after committing themselves to this person without running a background check they found out he was in prison for rape and that he was a psychopath; but by the time they learned this they already committed to him and decided to go ahead with it anyway and he was sent t other custody when he escaped, tried to rape someone and was killed, in self defense. They managed to cover this up and changed the plan to glorifying him as a veteran who died serving his country creating what they called "The Ballad of 303" which was a clear variation of "The Ballad of the Green Berets which was a hit song in 1966; however the veteran singer, Barry Sadler who "killed a country music songwriter named Lee Emerson Bellamy ..... According to court records, Sadler had then placed a handgun in Bellamy's van, presumably to strengthen his claim of self-defense."
He served a total of twenty-eight days in jail, which presumably few if any military veterans could get away with that aren't famous; he was eventually shot in the head putting him in a coma and eventually killing him, under circumstances that aren't fully explained.
The Hollywood propaganda version is obviously an exaggeration, if not a total fabrication, of some of the problems they have with violent veterans that have committed murder or gone on mass shootings sprees, including Ivan Lopez who went on a mass shootings spree at Fort Hood Texas after they refused to give him leave time to go home when his mother died.
And there are plenty more stories about the more violent veterans that do get in more trouble, either for murder domestic abuse or lots of fights, including in the memoirs of many of the most famous veterans that don't describe noble attitudes concerned about fighting for freedom at all, including Michael Walsh author of "Seal" and Chris Kyle author of “American Sniper” both who report about large number of fights often bragging about them, sometimes over petty reasons. According to Kyle's book he allegedly encountered a celebrity, who turned out to be Jesse Ventura, who said that they shouldn't have been in Iraq, and that he turned up at a funeral with a black eye after this strongly implying that he punched him out over the argument. Jesse Ventura eventually won a libel suit against him; but even if you accept Kyle's version of events it seems to imply that punching someone out for telling the truth about a war which was based on lies is justification for punching someone out.
Some of these memoirs brag about using force to get their way, and they're often the ones considered most heroic; but of course, that's not all veterans but the military actually encourages this type of behavior in their training starting with boot camp indoctrination where drill instructors teach cadets to blindly obey orders and believe what they're told to believe.
If there were only one or two of these surprise homecomings that might not impact the vast majority of other veterans; however since they're being done on a massive scale it's clear that those chosen to participate in them do so at the expense of those that are turned down. The public never hears about the vast majority of of veterans that are often turned down to make up for shortages; however samples of their stories are told in numerous memoirs. These aren't limited to being unable to go home for the holidays, of course.
One example which is cited in "As You Were: To war And Back" Christian Davenport involved a veteran who tried to call the hotline for veterans with PTSD who wanted to get help and got the run-around with little or no response. She heard about a meeting offering help for veterans with problems and decided to attend; but got so angry that she started yelling at the speaker about how many problems there were with their programs and stormed out. She later encountered the same speaker and instead of reprimanding her for disorderly conduct to an officer seemed sympathetic and told her that he wanted her to call a number that he gave he. She seemed to think he was sincere and thought that this might help; but when she got home and looked at the number she realized that it was the same hotline that had already given her the run around.
On one recent occasion a relatively minor attempt at propaganda backfired in a major way when it was presented on social media; the Army Tweeted "Hear from Pfc. Nathan Spencer, a scout with @FightingFirst who shares how the #USArmy has influenced his life," with a video from a veteran talking about positive things the army did for his life then followed up by asking other veterans How has serving impacted you? 05/23/2019 The vast majority of responses were overwhelmingly negative talking about how much damage the military did to their life. I had to scroll down though a few dozen before seeing a joke that might be considered mildly positive and another dozen or two before seeing a tweet that was clearly positive. It must be at least 95-98% negative with some horrible claims. A few of these were compiled in The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. 05/25/2019 and These 30 Responses To U.S. Army Asking ‘How Has Serving Impacted You?’ Was Not What They Were Expecting To Hear June 2019
This is a clear indication that if they allow equal input from social media their propaganda won't even come close to holding up. the only reason they can get away with this is because large institutions are all controlled by wealthy people including the six corporations that control the media and they have hundreds of high paid propagandists that study how to manipulate the public to believing what they're told even when it often contradicts overwhelming evidence!
Stories like this are repeated over and over again from many veterans in memoirs or elsewhere; but they're not the image the military depicts in their propaganda which is nothing like reality. While the version presented by mainstream media and the military is constantly glorifying the military repeating claims that they're fighting for our freedom over and over again, memoirs or alternative media outlets routinely tell a totally different version of reality exposing enormous amount of corrupt, lies about weapons of mass destruction, babies being removed from incubators, the Gulf of Tonkin and reminding the public that the Vietnamese signed their own Declaration of Independence, and that many of the leaders we're fighting against often have far more support from their own people, meaning that our military isn't fighting to defend democracy at all!
If one of the leading propagandist for the Vietnam war can't demonstrate with his actions that they;re fighting for freedom, especially since the Vietnamese people never tried to invade our country and only wanted to choose their own leaders, that should raise major doubts about the media's propaganda. But of course the best research into the truth about wars is absent from mainstream media, so it often goes without scrutiny, even if it doesn't seem to make sense, since it's at best an incomplete story.
Ballad of the Green Berets
Fighting Soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret
Silver Wings upon their chest
These are men America's best
100 men will test today
But only 3 win the Green Beret
Trained to live of nature's land
Trained in combat hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage take from the Green Beret
Silver Wings upon their chest
These are men America's best
100 men will test today
But only 3 win the Green Beret
Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request
Put Silver Wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man he'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret
There should be no doubt that the vast majority of veterans don't go into the army thinking that they're going to fight wars base don lies, but all to often they find out the hard way, either that or they accept the propaganda without thinking it thorugh and go into denial, which is almost certainly a major contributing factor of PTSD. No one would want to believe that Tim McIlrath's version with "Rise Against" is closer to truth but for many it just might be:
Hero of War
He said son, have you seen the world?
Well, what would you say if I said that you could
Just carry this gun, you'll even get paid
I said that sounds pretty good
Black leather boots
Spit-shined so bright
They cut off my hair but it looked alright
We marched and we sang
We all became friends
As we learned how to fight
A hero of war
Yeah that's what I'll be
And when I come home
They'll be damn proud of me
I'll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Cause it's a flag that I love
And a flag that I trust
I kicked in the door
I yelled my commands
The children, they cried
But I got my man
We took him away
A bag over his face
From his family and his friends
They took off his clothes
They pissed in his hands
I told them to stop
But then I joined in
We beat him with guns
And batons not just once
But again and again
A hero of war
Yeah that's what I'll be
And when I come home
They'll be damn proud of me
I'll carry this flag
To the grave if I must
Cause it's a flag that I love
And a flag that I trust
She walked through bullets and haze
I asked her to stop
I begged her to stay
But she pressed on
So I lifted my gun
And I fired away
And the shells jumped through the smoke
And into the sand
That the blood now had soaked
She collapsed with a flag in her hand
A flag white as snow
A hero of war
Is that what they see?
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it's a flag that I love
The only flag that I trust
He said, son, have you seen the world?
Well what would you say, if I said that you could?
It may not be clear in the lyrics but according to Hero of War description he finds out the hard way that the girl he shot was carrying a flag of surrender, and that's the one he took home and trusted more than the one he started out with. The most credible news or propaganda is rarely ever what the media or the government gives to the majority of the public.
Ain’t no use in going back
Jody’s got your Cadillac
Ain’t no use in calling home
Jody’s got your girl and gone
Ain’t no use in feeling blue
Jody’s got your sister too
Mama Mama can’t you see
What this Army’s done for me
Mama Mama can’t you see
This Army life is killing me
The following are some additional sources, including more about violent veterans and dozens of stories or videos about these surprise homecomings which are almost certainly only a small fraction of what they've been putting out:
Gabriel Antonio Romero: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know 12/15/2019
Saudi gunman tweeted against US before naval base shooting 12/14/2019
The heart-melting moment a soldier surprises his family by jumping out of a gift box after nine months in Afghanistan 12/24/2014
Fort Hood shooter, Ivan Lopez, denied leave day of rampage, source says 04/04/2014
Navy SEALs Call Edward Gallagher “Freaking Evil” and “Toxic” in Leaked Videos 12/28/2019 Three SEALs said they saw Gallagher stab a teenager who was in their custody and barely conscious. Gallagher then conducted a ceremony in which he treated the teenager’s body like a trophy. “I was listening to it, and I was just thinking, like, this is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Miller told investigators.
Iraq war veteran found guilty of murder; jury to determine sanity 09/19/2019 An Iraq war veteran who said nanobots injected into his brain by a secret government agency compelled him to kill a sleeping stranger in Oceanside two years ago was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder.
Veteran on trial for murder says Marines put nanobots in his brain 09/17/2019
Family describes slain plumber as 'beautiful soul,' relieved about Oceanside arrest 11/2/2019 Twelve hours later, officers arrested an Oceanside triathlete and former Marine instructor in connection with the homicide. Mikhail Schmidt, 30, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on Monday and is being held on $3 million bail.
Marine On Trial for Murder ‘Missed Thrill of Killing’: DA 09/11/2019
‘Craved the Taste of Blood’: US Marine Veteran Sentenced for Stabbing and Killing Construction Worker 10/22/2019
Military mom surprises son during Shamu show at SeaWorld 08/10/2015 (1)
US soldier in Iraq surprises son by jumping out of present 01/31/2009 (2)
VIDEO: Soldier surprises mom and sisters with unexpected Christmas homecoming 12/28/2019 (3)
Soldier Surprised Her Son By Jumping Out Of A Gift Box At School 12/24/2012 (4)
The 14 Best Military Homecomings At Sporting Events (5-18) and there are many more: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38,39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45,
The NFL and the military: a love affair as strange and cynical as ever 09/11/2015
How Pro Sports Became Part of the U.S. Military’s War Machine 08/20/2018
Surprise Military Reunions At NFL Games Reach Peak Bullshit 09/02/2015 Speaking of plans, that would be the same Katherine Ruocco who is running for a state representative’s seat in Illinois, and who now has a patriotic viral video featuring her family—lately seen on Fox News—to share on her campaign’s official Facebook page.
Mississippi Army Sergeant Charged with Murder of Wife 12/26/2019
Iraq War veteran accused of killing Richmond cop testifies in court 10/24/2017 An Iraq War veteran on trial for allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend’s father last year took the stand in his own defense Monday in Solano County Superior Court. Robert J. Vega, 32, of Fairfield is charged with murder and kidnapping.
Iraq War veteran, Roy H. Murry, charged with murder in deaths of relatives 06/02/2015
Iraq veterans leave a trail of death and heartbreak in U.S. 01/13/2008
North Carolina man, an active duty military member, charged with murder in toddler’s death on New Year’s Day 01/06/2020
Marine deserter sought in Virginia murder hid in camper as investigators tore it apart: report 12/14/2019
Marines: Hanukkah stabbing suspect kicked out of boot camp 12/31/2019
90-year-old homicide victim was once linked to contract killing 12/31/2019 Victim was a Marine who stayed out of trouble for decades, often helping others, after serving time for alleged part in contract killing.
UPDATE: Wanted Marine found hiding in attic 12/03/2019 ROANOKE, VIRGINIA (WITN) - Authorities say a Marine that was wanted in the murder of his mother's boyfriend was found hiding in an attic.
Judge blasts former Marine who killed two women, says he'll 'never see a day of freedom in his life' 10/18/2019
Former Marine accused of rape and murder 43 years after woman’s death 06/01/2019 Eddie Lee Anderson, 66, is charged with one count of murder with a special allegation of rape, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. The criminal complaint was filed in Orange County Superior Court on May 24, the day Anderson was arrested at his home in River Ridge, La.
DNA Leads To Arrest Of Marine Veteran In 1976 Slaying Of Woman Who Disappeared In Costa Mesa 05/31/2019
2 active shooters in one week prompt questions about military bases' ban on firearms 12/06/2019 To have two shootings clustered one after another on military bases is unusual. In the past two decades, there have only been about seven other active shootings on bases; the deadliest was a November 2009 shooting spree in Fort Hood, Texas, which killed 13 and injured 32. (Limited definition of "active shootings on bases" presumably ignores many other shootings or murders which haven't been fully complied.)
A History of Shootings at Military Installations in the U.S. 09/16/2013 updated on 12/06/2019
Stop Telling Veterans That They Are Heroes 09/18/2019
The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching. 05/25/2019
A cross-partisan movement dedicated to promoting and advancing principled veteran leadership in order to reduce polarization
Veterans Campaign These recruitment organizations point out that there are far fewer veterans in Congress than there used to be; however the don't mention that there are also far fewer veterans in the general population than there used to be dropping from above fifty percent of males in the fifties to below ten percent now, and there are still a far higher percentage veterans in Congress than the general population.
Get On Back Home
How has serving impacted you? My children's father used his military leave to periodically return to town to try to kill me and cause other havoc. He was never held accountable. One time he took our son and I haven't seen him since. I'm sure he's ok with his service. I'm still traumatized. Thanks. 01/0/2020 He actually got into the Army because his recruiting officer went to the DA and got his guilty judgment for assault (against me) overturned. The Army has rewarded him well for making my life hell.
“American Sniper” Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show 05/25/2016